SO WHICH FATHER’S DAY EVENT DO YOU SUPPOSE I ENJOYED MOST:
a) A cookout at my in-laws, with the Tigers game on
b) Getting up at 5:30 to run the Ann Arbor Marathon
c) My daughter calling me a “badass” on Facebook for doing (b)
I think you can guess.
As for the marathon, I really enjoyed the first half of the race and felt decent until about mile 19. After that, let’s just say it was a struggle, thanks mainly to the rising heat and humidity. I made my time goal of under 4 hours (3:54) but I was pretty wiped at the finish. My coach said I looked pale, which is nothing new for the Whitest Man in America, but at her urging I went to the first aid tent and spent awhile with a cold wet towel over my head.
After my recovery I talked a bit with Nancy, the head organizer of the race volunteers. She ran in college but with three young children she doesn’t have time right now to get in the proper training for distance running. I told her about our PR Fitness Wednesday and Saturday runs, so maybe we can get her back into this
insane addiction fun and healthy activity.
The race was a mixed experience for me and, I think, for the city. There were lots of volunteers pointing the way, including several from the PR Fitness group (thanks, Larry, Jeff, and Stewart!) and police helping with traffic control (thank you all). The aid stations were well stocked with water, Powerade, and portajohns. We also had enthusiastic spectators, live music, and entertaining signs. From my runner’s perspective it was as well-run as any race I’ve been in.
On the “needs improvement” side, a friend of mine who ran slower than the 6-hour cutoff got lost when they took the signs away, and wound up running only 20 of the 26.2 miles. I understand the need to re-open the streets, but they could have left some markers on the sidewalks. I saw a couple of drivers asking race volunteers “how do I get out of here” when faced with roadblocks, and AnnArbor.com had many complaints from frustrated motorists. They also could have done without the Briarwood loop, as the mall was empty and the route getting there and back was far less scenic than the downtown and the parks and Arb of the first half.
This was our town’s first marathon and there were bound to be some hiccups. I know the race directors are committed to fixing the mistakes and learning from this year’s experience, and I’m sure next year it will be even better.
Now it’s a short break from running for me, as I prepare for my Aikido test next month. My classmate Jon-san will have his test tomorrow at the Genyokan. If you get a moment, send him some positive energy.
Okay, so who am I?
Why, yes I am.